News

The science of immunisation: Dispelling vaccination myths


Neelima Choahan


2/10/2018 2:52:22 PM

The Australian Academy of Science has joined with the Department of Health to launch a series of videos, articles and images to promote the benefits, safety and science of immunisation.

New resources have been released to inform people about vaccines.
New resources have been released to inform people about vaccines.

A recent national science survey revealed that just over one in eight respondents believed parents should be allowed to choose not to vaccinate their children, with risk of autism cited as one of the reasons.
 
The Australian Academy of Science has joined with the Department of Health (DoH) to launch a series of videos, articles and images in a bid to dispel myths about immunisation.
 
Professor Julie Bines, lead rotavirus researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, who features in the video Who benefits from vaccines?, said while there is strong evidence that vaccines are working, that message is not getting out to some members of the community.
 
‘There are still some myths, some misinformation that needs to be clarified so that if people are making a choice, they are making an informed choice,’ Professor Bines told newsGP.
 
‘So providing information, patient stories and opportunities to inform people so the choices they make are based on good data.’

Many topics are explored in the videos, articles and images: 
  • What is immunisation? 
  • What’s in a vaccine? 
  • Who benefits from vaccines? 
  • Are vaccines safe, and how are vaccines shown to be safe?? 
  • What does the future hold for vaccination?
 

Professor Bines said GPs can help their patients gain knowledge about vaccines.
 
‘To stress the importance of immunisation, and that immunisations are of direct benefit to the people who receive them, but also have a major role in reducing disease within the community so that people [like] newborn babies … older people, people who have a low immune system … are protected,’ she said.
 
The latest survey of Australians’ beliefs and attitudes towards science, which interviewed 1000 people across the country, shows that 84.2% of respondent said all parents should be required to vaccinate their children, but 12.8% disagreed.
 
Of those who said vaccination should not be compulsory, nearly three quarters said it ‘should be a family’s personal choice’. Other reasons cited included:
  • risk of autism/disability
  • reaction can be harmful/allergic in some cases
  • don’t trust vaccines/they don’t always work/they’re not necessary.
More than half of respondents who supported compulsory vaccination for children cited herd immunity and other related ideas as a reason for their position.
 
Secretary for Science Policy at the Australian Academy of Science, Professor David Day, said the updated content of the new series is aimed at addressing some of the prevailing views toward immunisation revealed in the survey.
 
‘We hope that the misunderstandings about immunisation that still exist in some parts of the community can be addressed through this new series,’ Professor Day said.
 
‘On a positive note, the survey found that more than half of the respondents who supported compulsory vaccination for children cited herd immunity and other related ideas as a reason for their position.
 
‘Herd immunity and how it works is one of the topics clearly explained in our video series.’



Australian Academy of Science Department of Health immunisations vaccination



Fiona Henneuse-Blunt   5/10/2018 12:01:15 PM

This is excellent . I frequently have consultations with vaccine hesitant parents and welcome this written information . The videos will also be very helpful. I try my best to educate my patients but it can be difficult to convince some . This will help redress the power of misinformation that is prevalent in social media .


Comments



 Security code